Some Questions for Amy Orr-Ewing: One of the World’s Leading Apologist
Amy Orr-Ewing is the EMEA Director for the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA). I was excited to meet her in London last December when she spoke at Christ Church London. I'm passionate about apologetics and meeting Amy was a dream come true.
Amy is passionate about always having an answer to many of the pressing cultural issues of the day. She is a fierce apologist. “Having an answer” is what the Apostle Paul talks about in 1 Peter 3:15- to be prepared to explain to others who ask the reason for the hope that you have. And she strives to bring her formidable theological knowledge to bear on a wide variety of subjects.
Amy speaks and lectures on Christian Apologetics worldwide, at events such as Keswick and Alpha International, and on University campuses including Oxford, Cambridge, Vienna, and Hong Kong. Amy has been invited to speak at the White House, and on Capitol Hill, as well as the Speakers Rooms in the UK Parliament. She has written two books exploring key questions in apologetics: Why Trust the Bible? and But Is It Real?. Her most recent publication is Millennials, which she co-authored with her husband Frog. They have also published Holy Warriors: A Fresh Look at the Face of Extreme Islam and Deep. She has contributed to the books Beyond Opinion, God and the Generations and Worth Knowing: Wisdom for Women.
Amy has made various appearances on national television in the UK including appearances on BBC Television (Blue Peter and Songs of Praise), BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief and television networks in the US.
Amy studied Theology at Christ Church at Oxford University for her Bachelor’s degree. From there she got her Master’s in Theology from King’s College in London. She is finishing up her Doctorial Thesis at Oxford University, where she is looking at the work of Dorothy L Sayers.
Currently Amy and her husband Frog lead a church in Buckinghamshire, UK called Latimer Minster, which they planted in 2010.
Amy’s areas of interest: the nature of truth, identity, rational defence of Christianity, historicity of the Bible, New Testament history, ethical dilemmas, tolerance, evil, suffering, friendship, human trafficking.
Seele Magazine: What made you want to become a Christian apologists?
Amy Orr Ewing: As a high school student I was really involved with evangelism and missions - through my local church and in vacations with YWAM. On a YWAM mission in Uzbekistan I had the opportunity to preach the gospel in the central square and it went on national TV. God seemed to open doors for me as an evangelist. At university in Oxford I carried on being involved in evangelism and was asked to go to other universities in Britain to speak to student groups. I found that I needed apologetics in these kinds of settings to connect with the audience and share the gospel persuasively.
SM: Because apologetics in the States typically happens within circles of people who are already Christians, why is it the aim of the Ravi Zacharias Institute to engage with people who don't believe what the institute believes?
AOE: At Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) we are focused on both helping believers to link (apologetics in the church) and helping the thinker believe (evangelism with those who don't follow Jesus). In 1 Peter 3:15 the Bible is clear that apologetics is primarily giving a reason for the hope within us to those who don't share our faith yet. Apologetics and evangelism go hand in hand.
SM: One will often use emotions and feelings to usually believe in something. Why is reasoning and logic important factors when believing in God? Does God want people to believe in Him based on emotions and feelings?
AOE: We are whole people - our minds and our emotions are all important to God. Just like in any relationship with a person we need to feel and to think if we are to grow in that relationship, so coming to God engages our hearts and our minds. God wants us to come to him as our whole selves and to meet Jesus the Truth - knowing Him sets us free on every level including our minds.
SM: What question are you asked the most when it comes to apologetics?
AOE: Why does God allow such evil things to happen to people if he is good and loving?
SM: What do you say to people who say to you "prove to me there is no God?"
AOE: I would say that a proof is technically analytical/mathematical or empirical. There are lots of things that don't fit into that paradigm - like thought, love, language, philosophical concepts. None of us can prove our views on reality in that sense including the questioner. It's actually more a question of evidence - where does the evidence lead us? I would then lay out some evidence for the Christian faith and ask my friend to do the same for their position.
SM: As Director of the Zacharias Trust and Program Director at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, what does a typical day look like for you?
AOE: There are no typical days! I may be giving lectures at the OCCA, meeting Christian leaders to strategise, leading team meetings, writing, talks, mentoring younger team members, giving a talk somewhere, travelling...
SM: How do you manage to balance writing books, working on you PhD, fulfilling your job roles, speaking, traveling, as well as being a wife, mother, and friend?
AOE: I enjoy variety and I lead an amazing team. A large part of what is do is train others and pass on opportunities to them - that means that the impact of what we are doing is expanded as it's not all about one person. I do try to be quite disciplined about time and get my work done whilst my children are at school, although I have been known to edit footnotes at the side of a tennis court when I am taking my kids to compete and they are waiting for their match to start.
SM: When you hear the name Jesus what comes to mind?
AOE: So many things! John 1 - Jesus as the Logos, the nail pierced hands of Christ reaching out to me and welcoming me into his salvation and forgiveness; and Memories of experiences of Jesus' close presence.